- Associated Press - Wednesday, May 4, 2016

“I Let You Go” (Berkley), by Clare Mackintosh

The death of a 5-year-old boy in a hit-and-run accident on a rainy British evening jumpstarts “I Let You Go,” which melds an intense psychological thriller with a suspenseful police procedural.

A best-seller when it was released last year in the U.K. and now making its U.S. appearance, “I Let You Go” revels in surprises and twists that keep readers off-kilter.

Little Jacob lets go of his mother’s hand when they are across the street from their home in Bristol, England. The car “comes from nowhere,” as so often happens, killing Jacob. The car idles for a few seconds, the driver aware of the child’s death, before speeding away. The grief that follows is understandable, but how it affects those involved imbues this outstanding story with a poignancy not easily forgotten.

Sculptor Jenna Gray is so traumatized that she walks away from her home, leaving almost everything behind, and relocates to a remote village in Wales. There, she keeps to herself, living in a dilapidated cottage, trying to be “invisible.” With no phone and no friends, she’s cut off contact with the world.

Back in Bristol, Detective Inspector Ray Stevens and his team, which includes a new member, detective constable Kate Evans, sift without luck through the scant evidence and try to locate Jacob’s mother.

Author Clare Mackintosh wisely allows her story to breathe as “I Let You Go” unfolds over a two-year interval. Yet at the same time, the story never lags. A shocking twist that comes in the middle enhances the story and forces the reader to re-evaluate each character’s movements.

As time passes, Jenna emerges from her self-imposed exile as a hermit, becoming a photographer with modest success snapping beach shots for a tourist trade. She adopts a puppy and becomes drawn to the local veterinarian, as bits of her past are revealed. The detectives are forced to work on Jacob’s case on their own time because other high-profile cases demand attention.

Mackintosh keeps the suspense high while smoothly incorporating several points of view.

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Online:

http://claremackintosh.com/books_/

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